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Many major corporations and government agencies rely on a variety of third-party certifying organizations to help identify diverse-owned businesses. Certification requirements, costs, processes and procedures vary, but the time and expense investments are well worth it for suppliers looking to boost their profile — and draw more business — with supplier diversity programs. If you’re wondering if certification is right for your company, check out the national certifying agencies below to learn more about the process:

Women-owned businesses

Small businesses

  • Small Business Administration: Although the SBA is primarily known as an agency that gives loans to small businesses, it also certifies companies to be eligible to work on federal contracts.

LGBT-owned businesses

  • National LGBT Chamber of Commerce: The NGLCC grants its LGBT Business Enterprise designation to eligible business that are at least 51 percent owned by LGBT individuals.

Disabled or veteran-owned businesses

  • Vets First: The Vets First Verification Program places the highest priority on service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses and then veteran-owned small businesses for Veterans Administration purchasing and procurement.

  • National Veteran Business Development Council: The NVBDC is the largest certifier of veteran-owned businesses.

  • Disability:IN: This nonprofit resource offers its certification to disability-owned business enterprises and service-disabled veteran-owned business enterprises.

Benefits of becoming a certified diverse business

The benefits of becoming a certified diverse supplier are numerous, including access to the following:

  • Databases: Certified diverse business databases allow you to search for prospective customers and clients who will benefit from the product or service your business provides. Likewise, your company’s information will be available so that other diverse businesses, major corporations, government entities, or customers who are looking for your product or service can connect with you.

  • Networking opportunities: Events and conferences enable you to gain valuable face time with potential purchasers in order to increase awareness of your brand, develop relationships and increase the likelihood of establishing contracts with purchasers. In addition, certifying-organization sponsored events are an excellent venue to connect with other diverse suppliers to share insight, compare experiences and discuss future business opportunities or partnerships.

  • Educational opportunities and training: Certified diverse businesses have access to training programs, educational workshops and mentorship programs. Such workshops include strategies for selling to large corporations, ways to establish supplier diversity programs within your company and best practices for obtaining government contracts.

  • Loans: If you’re just starting out as a small business, obtaining a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) or Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification is an effective way to receive assistance for securing loans. Initial funding will provide you with capital to get your business up and running. Existing small businesses also benefit from obtaining loans to acquire additional equipment, expand their employee base or open another location.
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Nationwide is providing this information as part of its Business Solutions Center website content and e-newsletter. The information included on this e-newsletter and the Business Solutions Center website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal, tax, financial, or any other sort of advice; nor is it a substitute for such advice. The information may not apply to your specific situation. We have tried to make sure the information is accurate, but it could be outdated or even inaccurate, in parts. It is the reader's responsibility to comply with any applicable local, state, or federal regulations, and to make their own decisions about how to operate their business. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates, and their employees make no warranties about the information, no guarantee of results, and assume no liability in connection with the information provided.